Rest assured at Zumbro View Dental that we acknowledge and honor individual parent and patient preferences regarding the use of fluoride in their individual oral care routines. Some patients prefer not to include such. We enjoy all dialogue and honor those preferences. The following contains general information that summarizes options for those that do prefer to consider and receive fluoride in their oral hygiene care.
Zumbro View Dental continues to receive continuing education in the area of preventive dentistry. One longstanding topic that is still modern is dental fluoride. This extremely effective preventive tool is safe, cost effective and practical when used in delicate and controlled doses for your child or yourself. We look forward to discussing this more with you on a case-by-case basis.
Two main strategies are used with dental fluoride to help the tooth’s enamel for a child or adult:
- “Embedding” it within the enamel while the child’s baby and permanent teeth are forming (birth to 16 years of age).
- “Surface soaks” of any baby or adult erupted tooth with varying options below.
Between birth and 16 years old, you usually have the chance to embed fluoride into the developing enamel two ways:
- Drinking city water enriched with fluoride. Most cities accomplish this with cautions for some kitchen filters at risk for taking out such fluoride discussed below.
- Oral prescription daily supplements – most applications for well water families discussed below.
- Prescription fluoride daily oral supplements: One key element to some children’s routines is a prescription fluoride supplement. This typically applies to children whose dominant diet and water intake comes from well water and not fluoride-treated city water systems. Sometimes this comes from a stronger-style kitchen water filtration system on the main kitchen water sourced-faucet or refrigerator filter system.
- Parents are encouraged to clarify any risk of fluoride being filtered from your cooking and drinking water. Parents can provide a well-water or kitchen filtered water sample to a local utility agency for fluoride testing to be accurate of fluoride content prior to any prescription. Most filter manufacturers are also able to answer this question with a customer service department contact.
- Most parents in our practice with home well water in Southeastern Minnesota elect this daily fluoride prescription-dosed supplement for their children. Some children take varying doses from 6 months of life to 16 years old. All doses are well studied, small and safe. This form of dosing enriches the enamel of the tooth actually during development and is quite effective in helping strengthen enamel for a lifetime once the tooth is erupted in the mouth. Carefully consider this supplement if you have well water at your home.
After any tooth has erupted into the mouth, whether or not you experienced embedding fluoride into your enamel, all patients can pursue “surface soaks”.
- Home over-the-counter toothpaste: Home fluoride exposure within your child’s “regular” toothpaste can only be introduced when the child can predictably spit out the foam at the end of any brushing session. This dosing is effective and safe. Please ensure “pea-sized” amounts – especially in younger years.
- Home fluoride rinse: Over-the-counter products can be used to supplement fluoride when certain children are more prone to cavities. Recommendations are made occasionally.
- Prescription fluoride at any child or adult’s hygiene appointment: Most parents elect at least once per year for their children to receive a “topical” application of a unique fluoride immediately at the end of their appointment with the hygienist. This time-honored application is quite effective in enriching the enamel after the tooth has erupted. The fluoridated paste used is highly concentrated and contains a much higher dosage than over-the-counter toothpastes.
- Prescription toothpastes: High strength (prescription strength) toothpastes are available for special situations - usually for adult teeth and sometimes for children. Many adults find themselves prone to cavities for varying reasons. Weaker enamel can occur from excessive soda pop sipping, sports drink sipping or creamed and/or sugared coffee or tea sipping in the past. Also, many medications can also result in reduced saliva content in the mouth which heightens cavity risks. Some adults have gum recession which exposed softer roots of teeth which can be more prone to decay. While simplified for discussion here – using a high concentration fluoride toothpaste and intentionally NOT rinsing it away (just spitting out excess foam and residue) is an excellent means to reduce cavity risk on otherwise frail, vulnerable and delicate areas of your mouth.